Australia from Space: Part 2

Kimberley shoreline, Western Australia

The Kimberley is a large region in northern Western Australia. Bordered on the north by the Timor Sea, it is the place where the ancestors of Australia's indigenous inhabitants are thought to have landed after crossing from the Indonesian archipelago. This image shows only a small part of the Kimberley coastline.

THESE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES of the Australian coastline and islands were taken by European astronaut Paolo Nespoli from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS circles the globe in every 91 minutes, with different parts of our planet’s surface visible underneath each orbit as the Earth rotates.

Elizabeth Reef

Elizabeth Reef in the Tasman Sea, is a coral reef that measures about 8 kilometres long by 5.5 kilometres wide. It is located 45 kilometres from Middleton Reef (see next photo), 160 kilometres from Lord Howe Island, and a little over 500 kilometres from the coast of New South Wales. The reef, normally almost fully submerged except at low tide, has claimed a number of shipwrecks during the years, including a yacht in 2007, whose lone British sailor was winched to safety by a Royal Australian Navy helicopter.

Middleton Reef

Middleton Reef is a twin of Elizabeth Reef, located only 45 kilometres away, and around 200 kilometres from Lord Howe Island. It's almost the same size too, being just 8.9 kilometres long by 6.3 kilometres wide. Like Elizabeth Reef, Middleton is almost entirely submerged except at low tide.

King Sound, Western Australia

King Sound is a gulf in northwestern Western Australia, fed by the Fitzroy River. It has the highest tides in Australia, reaching a height of 11.4 metres at Derby, a town on the shore of the Sound. William Dampier was the first European to explore the Sound, in 1688 aboard the ship Cygnet. This image shows only a small part of the Sound, the full dimensions of which are 120 kilometres in length by 50 kilometres width.

Section of the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches 2,600 kilometres along Queensland's coastline, is the world's largest reef system. It has almost 3,000 separate reefs, around 900 islands and covers an area of just under 350,000 square kilometres. This image shows only a tiny part of it.

Adapted from information issued by ESA / NASA.

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